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Joke Level

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Blood-soaked demon slayer vs. giant teddy bears. Not pictured: The pink unicorns and rainbows.

A level that feels rather out of place in a video game, in that it goes against the theme of the game and even clashes with the established story and setting. Oftentimes these tend to be secret levels, but sometimes these are a normal part of the game, reachable through normal progression or level selection.

Not to be confused with Gimmick Level.


  • GURPS Infinite Worlds gives us the United States of Lizardia. Dinosaurs never went extinct, and yet somehow, sixty-five-odd million years later, there emerged a society of troodontids almost exactly like ours. It's Invoked firstly as an example of parallel worlds that don't follow logic, and secondly as a contrast to worlds like Reich-5 and Taft-7.
  • The Secret Cow Level in Diablo II is a secret level with specific requirements to reach it, that clashes a bit with the moody setting of the game. While still dark and realistic looking (by graphical standards of the time), it consists of grasslands containing a massive army of bulls who speak by saying the word "moo" over and over again.
  • Blizzard topped themselves in Diablo III with Whimsyshire. After going through the steps to unlock it, the player is teleported to a mystical land of dancing flowers, smiling clouds, and lots of rainbows. Also doubles as a Take That, Audience! after all the complaints that the early screen shots weren't dark enough.
    • The Reaper of Souls expansion added Rifts which are challenging dungeons filled with randomly generated enemies. Rarely it can generate the Cow Rift, a shout-out to the Cow Level. It is filled with bipedal cows, the boss is "Lord of Bells", and the entire thing is set to twangy ranch music. Whimsyshire and its mobs will rarely appear in Rifts as well.
    • Not The Cow Level is a secret zone only accessible from Kanai's Cube. It's a pasture overrun with Infernal Bovines and home to an unusually large number of chests and gold-spawning bodies, accompanied by the same music as the Cow Rift. The boss is the "Cow Queen" and the Cow King's ghost triggers an event called Tipping Point.
    • The Cow King and his farm of killer cows also appeared in 2016 in World of Warcraft, as homage to Diablo's 20th anniversary.
  • The otherwise humorless arcade light-gun game Police Trainer has, amid a very difficult set of levels, a section in which you have to shoot moving doughnuts and cups of coffee.
  • The secret "Out Of This Dimension" level in Star Fox. The enemies are origami paper airplanes, the background is constantly distorting planets with faces, and the boss is a slot machine. Unfortunately, coming here prevents you from progressing through the remainder of the game, as once you defeat the boss you are left with an endless "THE END" screen.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has you doing classic levels from Super Mario Bros. as Bowser at three points: a field level after Chapter 2, a water level after Chapter 4, and a castle level after Chapter 6.
  • Star Trek: Elite Force II had a secret level based on Super Mario Bros.
  • Batman Doom's Secret Level "No comment...", which is set in a bizarre, surreal environment and features flying eye monsters as enemies.
  • Wolfenstein 3-D has a Secret Level with the layout of a Pac-Man stage called "Wolf Pack", complete with ghosts that chase you, as seen here.
  • Night Sky: The vividly coloured "Slightly Nonsense", which is a stark, sunny contrast to the moody sunsets of the preceding worlds, and requires all of the secret stars to access.
  • Portal 2 has a test chamber which has the word "TEST" written in enormous letters on a wall and is solved as easily as pushing a button. It's designed first to show that Wheatley has no idea how to design a decent test and also as a jab towards the kind of level uncreative users create when they first get their hands on a game's SDK.
  • Abobo's Big Adventure has a level based on Urban Champion. The champ's attempts to hurt you are ineffective, and he's a total pushover. It ends with a sequence direct from Mortal Kombat (a game that wasn't on the NES).
  • AS-Outback, an assault mission from Unreal Tournament 2004, is one long parody of the Land Down Under, wherein pissed-off Aussie rednecks, infuriated by the alcohol-free zero beer, go to their local brewery to get back some real beer, fighting against the city slickers who prefer the nasty stuff.
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations has The Tale of Killer Bee, which consists of four fights with absolutely zero plot justification, sandwiched between Killer Bee rapping about how awesome he is and who he's going to fight next. It certainly fits the "clashing with the overall mood of the game" part of the description. Beware of the surprise SNK Boss at the end, though!
  • Super Meat Boy has worlds which get progressively darker in tone.note  When you finally finish the game, you unlock the Cotton Alley, which is bright, pink, and full of cheery music and things trying to murder you horribly.
  • Doom II has the secret Wolfenstein 3-D levels. (Apart from the German version, which omitted them, for obvious reasons)
    • TNT: Evilution's secret levels take place in a pyramid and the Caribbean.
  • Frog Fractions has a level where you're back at the pond at the beginning of the game. You are now a human, and obviously you no longer have the Overly-Long Tongue that's central to the gameplay. You inevitably lose, but thankfully it was All Just a Dream.
  • The multiplayer map of the first Dungeon Siege game has a secret chicken level in which the player has to fight giant chickens, named after employees of Gas Powered Games. Defeating the final boss of the level gives the player a gun...that shoots chickens. To enter the secret level, the player has to possess 3 fairly hard to find, but useless items.
  • Sound Voltex has "Nyan Cat." Also, the April Fools' Day levels.
  • maimai also has joke levels on April Fools' Day. Conversely however, some of these levels are downright brutal!
  • Might and Magic 6 has a secret dungeon that mirrors the layout of developer New World Computing's office, complete with villagers named after employees and goblins named after the bosses.
  • The Fallout series had joke-areas via a random encounter system in their 2D games, the only 3D title to retained this was Fallout: New Vegas with the "Wild Wasteland" selectable character trait. Encounters include things like coming across a pile of dead red shirts around a crashed shuttle and being attacked by a post-apocalyptic gang of ruthless old ladies.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has several quests that can best be described as "comedy relief" in the otherwise rather serious game. Examples include a mission that requires the hero Geralt to shepherd and protect a wayward goat, and another that requires him to act (badly) in a play.
  • The Mass Effect series starts as a political thriller Space Opera that goes full Lovecraft Lite Cosmic Horror by the time the first game is halfway through. It plays everything straight and most jokes are completely in character as your squad of Deadpan Snarkers react to the Crapsack World around them. Then comes the Citadel DLC, the last DLC of the original trilogy, which begins Breaking the Fourth Wall and acts like an action comedy full of homages to sci-fi and action movies. It's subtler than many examples on this page since it doesn't look cosmetically different, but the change in tone is clear.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert had It Came From Red Alert. Done as a spoof of old monster movies such as Them! and the video game It Came From The Desert, it's a short campaign where Allied troops fight giant ants.
  • Crash Fever has ALICE Dreamin' School, an Affectionate Parody (maybe?) of the High School AU and school-based eastern media as a whole.
  • Warship Gunner 2 has a short campaign that's unlocked after beating the core game where you have to do things like take your bridge crew on dates, destroy a land instillation to prevent someone from singing karaoke, "defeat" a Boss Rush by pointing out that the PS2 could never support that many ships on the screen at one time, and fight a dried giant squid.
  • Terraria:
    • As of the 1.4 update, using the seed 05162020 to generate a world results in... odd things happening. Such as the Dungeon entrance being underground beneath a giant dead tree, a giant lava ocean in the middle of the Underworld, an overabundance of giant trees, sky islands being either desert or tundra rather than the standard forest, both Crimson and Corruption biomes being present on the same map (normally impossible upon first generating a world), and the marble and granite caves having their shapes swapped. The Guide is also replaced with the Party Girl, an alternate soundtrack plays in place of the standard, and two otherwise unobtainable meme items are added to the chest pools.
    • The seed "not the bees" results in an entire bee-themed world generating, in which all water is replaced by honey, all forest by jungle, the desert is a single gigantic beehive, and Queen Bee spawns are littered all over the surface. The Dungeon is also painted yellow. Some have questioned if it is even possible to complete game progression when starting from scratch in this seed.
    • The "for the worthy" seed is a blend between this, a hidden harder mode, and a throwback to earlier versions of the game. It boosts the world difficulty automatically (Worlds set to be Classic are instead Expert and Expert worlds are made Master, with worlds set to Master becoming a hidden "Legendary" difficulty) and alters bosses to make them harder. It also has more gag changes like bombs dropping from trees or pots and pools of water, even in the Snow biome, having a chance to be lava.
    • The seed "celebrationmk10" creates a world painted with pink and cyan that makes rare items more common. It impliments an otherwise unused enemy that vomits blocks to clog up the player's inventory.
    • Worlds made with the seed "no traps" are, contrary to the name, littered with far more traps than usual.
    • The seed "get fixed boi" combines mechanics and features from all five of the above seeds plus the less-jokey "don't dig up" and "the constant" seeds and blends them in to a challenge much more different from the standard game.
  • Friday Night Funkin' Game Mods:
    • The "tutorial" for the Vs Hatsune Miku Game Mod features Hatsune Miku and Tricky the Clown singing levan polka together.
    • The Tetris bonus song from Vs Mami mod is Exactly What It Says on the Tin - the russian folk song used as Tetris soundtrack, with characters' heads and falling notes shaped like Tetris blocks.
    • Vs Ron (Cool Mod) is already a funny joke mod by itself, but its "tutorial" deserves a special mention, being a spoof made entirely out of memes.
  • Metal Warriors: Completing the game or entering a code during the start screen opens a special multiplayer mode that must be seen to be believed.